Photography

Photography and Me

The kid next door introduced me to photography the summer I turned 10.  We used his camera to take and develop b/w photos of everything we saw.  That winter my parents caved in and bought the Tower 120 mm twin reflex camera that I found in the Sears catalog.  With that trusty 120 I learned to photograph subjects near and far, fast and still, light and dark.

The next winter I read a novel about a young man who was a wildlife photographer.  What timing!  I thought that story had set the course for my life.  But life takes its turns and in time, photography became so familiar to me that my interest transferred from photography to the subjects.  In college I studied vegetation ecology and landscape dynamics and used photographs as a documentary tool.  Like every other snapshooter out there, I became a documentary photographer.

After college the old Bogen tripod given me by my friend George Ballard, supported a succession of cameras and lenses.  Thousands of students at the University of Utah, Columbia University, and UCLA saw the slides.  Two books and numerous technical articles in academic journals and conference proceedings contain examples of the b/w work.

In 2004, I sold all my fabulous Zone VI darkroom equipment that had been funded by the U. S. Justice Department, gave away my Nikon, and switched to digital photography.  I am happy with the change, but a little sad for the tiny tics of memory on the thousands of b/w negatives and color slides that are sitting in dusty cardboard boxes awaiting eventual disposal.  [Here’s some news.  In January, 2015 I began scanning slides and by March had gone through about 2,000 of the Kodachromes.]

I selected the photos included here from the 50,000 or so taken since 2003.  They have some documentary value, but mostly they are just pretty or interesting.  I suppose that I am following the same impulses that motivate curators of all kinds to share their collections with others:  I hope you like the pictures.

Dates and Formats

My photos from before 1973 are scattered, and I have none of the negatives.  From 1973 through 2003, I photographed on 35mm b/w and Kodachrome.  After 2003, everything is digital in numerous formats.  The photos here are all JPEGS with minimum compression.

Garden Flowers

For almost 15 years, I succumbed to a weakness for large flowers and planted thousands of seeds, bulbs, and transplants around my house.  Dave, Denise, Michael, Monti, and Velita helped.  I’ll begin with the daffodils.

Other Subjects

  • Landscapes
  • Wildlife

Recent Posts

Avoiding Oligarchy to Preserve Nature

Cherokee Nation Seal

Cherokee Nation Seal

The Cherokee Tribe is a sovereign nation with rights guaranteed by a treaty ratified by the U. S. Congress and signed by the U. S. President. The Tribe’s relationship with the United  States is similar to that of the 50 states. The following article by Chuck Hoskin, Jr. Cherokee Principal Chief, concerns the tribe’s efforts to control the corrupting influence of dark money on elected members of the tribal government. I’ve posted it here for the edification of American voters and the U.S. Congress where money is being used by special interests to legally bribe congressional members. Allowed to continue, this could replace our representative government with an oligarchic government.
In my limited experience, it appears that oligarchs have no respect for nature and see natural systems only as resources to harvest. It seems that a representative government is more likely to take action to save the Earth from our current rampant growth and quest for wealth and power. Here’s what Chief Hoskin says:

“Dark money corrupts. Democracy dies in the dark. But, the sovereign government of the Cherokee Nation Reservation is fighting back with recent election law reforms that demand transparency.
“Let us start with the facts: Our longstanding election laws require transparency and accountability with respect to campaign donations. Donation limits, mandatory disclosure and prohibition against “independent expenditures” are all hedges against corruption embedded in Cherokee law. I believe our campaign finance laws were among the strongest in the country even before the latest reforms.
“But, the 2019 election exposed some weaknesses in our laws. It is true that a candidate in 2019 was disqualified for illegally coordinating with an illegal entity operated by non-Indians out of Oklahoma City. Public hearings, including by our Supreme Court, disclosed this attempt to cheat and to steal an election by a group called “Cherokees for Change.” The law held one lawbreaker accountable. However, the law left many involved in the illegal scheme unscathed.
“The law did not hold accountable the people who funneled an unknown amount of money into the election. We may never know the full extent of the corruption, who made donations and what they hoped to gain from their scheme. Perhaps these same outside interests are regrouping to again try to buy our elections. Perhaps others are circling the Cherokee Nation with the same plans.
“The Council of the Cherokee Nation recently took action after literally years of careful review of our election code. I proposed, and the council enacted, the country’s strongest ban on dark money. The law passed 15-0, with two councilors absent. Deputy Speaker Victoria Vazquez said she sponsored the legislation so that “people, not outside corporate interests, control our democracy.” She is spot on.
“I proudly signed the reforms into law earlier this month alongside Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. The law reinforces the ban on the kind of anonymous and unlimited piles of cash that illegally poured into our 2019 elections from Oklahoma City. But, the law now punishes those who donate to these illegal entities with stiff criminal and civil penalties.
“As Council Speaker Mike Shambaugh said, “The message we are sending today is that this is not 2019; you won’t get away with corruption.”
“The ban on dark money is a true exercise of our tribal sovereignty and a win for government transparency. While other nations may be content with unlimited, unregulated, anonymous campaign contributions, the Cherokee Nation is not. Sixteen of 17 council members expressed support for this basic idea: The Cherokee people deserve to know who is contributing to candidates for public office.
“As I reflect on our Nation’s bold stand against corruption, my thoughts turn to the current election campaigns in Oklahoma. Recently, I pushed back on politicians in Oklahoma who are claiming Cherokee sovereignty is “the greatest threat” and that our reservations should be “disestablished.” A number of powerful politicians seem to fear Cherokee Nation making its own laws and protecting the public interest.
“From the perspective of anti-Indian politicians, maybe our sovereignty is a threat. It is certainly a threat to the corrupt influence of those who would try to secretly buy our elections.
chief-hoskin“I firmly believe that some of the same anti-Indian interests who want to destroy our reservations are busy hatching a “plan B” to try to control tribal governments. The Cherokee people and their representatives will not stand for it. No wonder some of these anti-sovereignty politicians are scared.
“We are sovereign. The Cherokee people demand transparency. The days of corrupt dark money in Cherokee politics are over” Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

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